We adapted quickly
to our desert home. We don't mind the heat (blush - we have air conditioning!),
and we quickly came to the realization that it's the humidity we don't like.
Photo by J. Lee Compton
this fella (gal?) is naturally desert adapted - and resides on the ranch of our
friends Lynn and Lee. S/he is one of several they have seen since moving here.
Photo by J. Lee Compton
As you can
see, I am not the only one who likes prickly pears to eat.
Wildflower season is one of the most beautiful times in the Sonoran Desert.
ago, I made Prickly Pear Jelly from the juice, but when Lynn and Lee came over for
a birthday dinner, I made a pitcher full of prickly pear margaritas. (Visit the post for information on how to prepare extract the juice from the fruits. The juice also freezes really well.)
Most people around
these here parts use prickly pear syrup for their cocktails, but I like the
refreshing "sugar free" version I am using today.
It looks tropical, doesn't it?
Sugar free is
in quotation marks because there is enough natural sugar in both the limes and
the cactus fruits that it can't be sugar free. Oh, and sugar in the alcohol?
Let's not even go there.
This is at the end of our driveway. Palo verdes are gorgeous in April.
This is a
very simple cocktail recipe, and a wonderful way to say goodbye to our long, hot summer. You will most likely need to use a purchased prickly
pear syrup unless you have a desert full of the right cacti behind your home.
You can adjust the amount of lime juice to suit your taste.
One of the riparian ares in Pima Canyon.
back to the actual prickly pear. In my last post I realized, thanks to all the
comments, that I neglected to tell you that there are many different kinds of
In December, the cottonwoods glow in Sabino Canyon.
Many of you
have seen the pears for sale at your green grocer and, while edible and tasty,
they are not the source of our juice.
The statuesque saguaro cactus is native only to the Sonoran Desert.
cactus figs (Opuntia ficus-indica), also known as Indian Figs, native to Mexico
(though grown here) and introduced to Mediterranean Europe soon after Contact.
What we use for the juice are the fruits of the Opuntia engelmannii, or
Englemann's Prickly Pear. Its fruits are referred to as tunas, and this variety
is native to our Sonoran Desert.
The Sonoran Desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian
species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species (really!), over 1000
native bee species, and more than 2,000 native plant species. I think that is
why first time visitors are surprised when they don't see sand dunes or vast blank expanses
of rock - ours is a very green, lush desert! I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of our beautiful region.
harvesting fruits or other foods in the wild, please make sure you connect with
local experts to make sure you aren't making any unfortunate mistakes!
1/2 cup tequila blanco (also called silver)
triple sec (you can also use Cointreau)
1/2 cup lime
juice (preferable from Mexican limes, a.k.a. Key limes; they are the same
prickly pear juice, thawed if frozen
four ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Pour into
glasses (salted rims are traditional but optional) and add a few ice cubes. Serves 4.